“Civil rights are for blacks,” conservative commentator Ann Coulter said on ABC’s “This Week” during a show on immigration and the Latino vote Sunday. That’s nonsense, says “Democracy Now!” co-host Juan Gonzalez, who along with filmmaker Eduardo Lopez directed a deeply informative film about the root causes of Latin American immigration to the United States.
“Various groups—feminists, gay rights groups and those who are defending immigrants—have commandeered the black civil rights experience,” “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos read aloud from Coulter’s new book, “Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama.”
That’s right, Coulter said (emphasis added):
We don’t owe the homeless. We don’t owe feminists. We don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions. ... That’s what “civil rights” has become for much of the left. They dropped the blacks after five minutes. ... I think civil rights are for blacks. ... What have we done to the immigrants? We owe black people something. We have a legacy of slavery. Immigrants haven’t even been in this country.
In Coulter’s warped universe, history doesn’t matter, and the only broad, social wrongs that exist are those that even a predator drone couldn’t deny.
Gonzalez and Lopez’s film, “Harvest of Empire,” based on Gonzalez’s 1999 book of the same name, tells of how Latin Americans fled to the United States in great numbers in recent decades only after American business and military activities in their home countries destroyed their economies and the stability of their governments. As Gonzalez explains (emphasis added):
The harvest of the empire as I explain in both the book and in the movie is that starting at the end of World War II, really, the people of the third world started coming to the west, and they came precisely to those countries that had once been their colonial masters, so that in France they don’t know what to do about all the Algerians and the Tunisians and the Moroccans. In England they don’t know what to do about all the Indians and the Pakistanis and the Jamaicans. In the United States they don’t know what to do about all the Latin Americans. Those are precisely the former colonies of those empires. And once the, with the ending of World War II, and the independence movements that developed throughout Asia and Africa and Latin America, the peoples of those former colonial countries are coming to the metropolis, and they’re changing, transforming the very composition of those nations. And so that for us, the United States, it’s not even a, we’re not dealing with this “immigration problem” alone. England has an immigration problem. France has an immigration problem. Germany has an immigration problem. And it is the harvest of the empires that made those countries so wealthy. Well, the capital came. But now the people are coming as well.
Americans’ broad ignorance of that history, combined with cultural differences and the perceived threat from immigrants to American jobs whipped up by right-wing pundits and politicians, accounts for the general antipathy toward Latino immigrants among much of the American public. For the time being, this set of circumstances is beneficial to Republicans seeking to maintain the demographic (read voting) composition that enables their electability to political office.
“If 11 to 12 million people are able to legalize their status and become voters,” Gonzalez explains, “it will change the political landscape of America for decades to come. They understand that it could spell the doom of the Republican Party for a generation.”
“Harvest of Empire” premieres in New York City and Los Angeles this weekend. See the trailer in the second clip below.